Towards a Theory of Information Preservation

James Cheney, Carl Lagoze, Peter Botticelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Digital preservation is a pressing challenge to the library community. In this paper, we describe the initial results of our efforts towards understanding digital (as well as traditional) preservation problems from first principles. Our approach is to use the language of mathematics to formalize the concepts that are relevant to preservation. Our theory of preservation spaces draws upon ideas from logic and programming language semantics to describe the relationship between concrete objects and their information contents. We also draw on game theory to show how objects change over time as a result of uncontrollable environment effects and directed preservation actions. In the second half of this paper, we show how to use the mathematics of universal algebra as a language for objects whose information content depends on many components. We use this language to describe both migration and emulation strategies for digital preservation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries
EditorsPanos Constantopoulos, IngeborgT. Sølvberg
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-540-44796-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-540-42537-3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg


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